With ‘Theory of Everything,’ ‘Wild’ and More Coming, Biopics Could Reign Supreme at This Year’s OscarsThe Academy Awards have been enamored with biopics since the early days of cinema, and this year appears to be no different, with a number of options from which the Academy can choose. (SSN)
A Master Class With ‘Game of Thrones’ Creator George R.R. Martin, and Why It’s Taking So Long to Finish ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’Oscar-nominated filmmaker Pen Densham shares with SSN his conversation with the author, as well as some insights about comics and how they helped him get his start. (SSN)
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With ‘Theory of Everything,’ ‘Wild’ and More Coming, Biopics Could Reign Supreme at This Year’s OscarsThe Academy Awards have been enamored with biopics since the early days of cinema, and this year appears to be no different, with a number of options from which the Academy can choose. (SSN)
Behind the Scenes of ‘Big Hero 6’ and the Creation of Baymax With Disney Animation Veteran, Don HallNearly five years after Disney’s $4 billion purchase of Marvel Entertainment, Big Hero 6, the first animated feature resulting from the marriage, hits theaters. (SSN) (SSN)
Behind the Scenes of HBO’s ‘Olive Kitteridge’ With Director Lisa Cholodenko and Emmy-Winning Screenwriter Jane AndersonPulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout’s Kitteridge is a collection of 13 non-linear but interrelated short stories set in a small coastal New England town. (SSN)
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Fans of Aaron Sorkin’s Television Work Might Want To Really Enjoy These Last Few Episodes of ‘The Newsroom’Emmy and Oscar winner thinks that he might be done with the medium, now that the HBO show is coming to and end, saying, “I’ve done four shows, and only one of them is The West Wing.” (VAR) (SAA) (DH)
Starz Announces Winner Of Its Filmmaking Competition, ‘The Chair,’ and People Are ‘Not Cool’ With itDespite devastatingly bad reviews, internet celebrity Shane Dawson’s film beats out Anna Martemucci’s Holidaysburg and the resulting $250,000 prize. (TOH)
With ‘Interstellar’ Now the Number One Live Action Film In America, Some Tips On How to Know You’re Living in a Chris Nolan MovieIs there obsession? A dead spouse? Icy vistas? Do you find yourself dealing with outrageous and complicated twists? If so, it’s possible that you are, in fact, living in a Christopher Nolan film. (VUL) (IW)
Bleed for This 11/10/2014 Logline: After a 1991 car crash, world champion boxer Vinny Pazienza did not know if he would walk again, but against doctors’ orders he trained and returned to the ring about a year later. Production Companies: Sikelia Productions, Bruce Cohen Productions, Verdi Films Director: Ben Younger Executive Producers: Martin Scorsese, Joshua Sason Producers: Bruce Cohen, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Ben Younger, Chad Verdi, Noah Kraft Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Miles Teller, Ciarian Hinds, Katey Sagal, Amanda Clayton Screenwriter: Ben Younger SSN Insight: Filming begins in Rhode Island.
Hail, Caesar! 11/10/2014 Logline: Eddie Mannix works as a "fixer" in 1950s Hollywood, cleaning up messes and protecting the reputations of the studio’s stars. Studio: Universal Pictures Production Companies: Working Title Films, Mike Zoss Productions Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen Executive Producers: No Executive Producer Available. Producers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan Cast: George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton Screenwriters: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen SSN Insight: This film marks the eighth time the Coen Brothers and Working Title have worked together. Their joint credits include “A Serious Man,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “The Big Lebowski,” and “Fargo” among others.
Hunter's Prayer 11/10/2014 Logline: An assassin meets a college girl who wants his help to go after the men that killed her family. Production Companies: FilmEngine, Full Clip Productions, Anthropology Director: Jonathan Mostow Producers: Anthony Rhulen, Navid McIlhargey, Sam Worthington, John Schwarz, Michael Schwarz Cast: Sam Worthington, Odeya Rush Screenwriters: Oren Moverman, Paul Leyden Details: Based on the novel "For the Dogs," written by Kevin Wignall and published by Simon & Schuster on June 29, 2004. Phillip Noyce was previously attached to direct. Hailee Steinfeld was previously attached. SSN Insight: The film has been sold to 20 foreign territories, as reported by its foreign sales rep Sierra/Affinity at American Film Market. Notable distributors include Asia Pay TV (STAR), Germany (Square One), Greece / India / Middle East / Turkey (Italia), Hong Kong / Taiwan (Sound Space), Latin America (Sun Distribution), and South Korea (Focus and Company).
London Has Fallen 11/5/2014 Logline: Mike Banning and President Benjamin Asher team up with a M16 agent to save London from a terrorist attack. Studio: Nu Image/Millennium Films Production Company: G-BASE Director: Babak Najafi Executive Producers: Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, John Thompson, Heidi Jo Markel Producers: Gerard Butler, Alan Siegel, Mark Gill, Matt O'Toole, Danny Lerner Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Radha Mitchell Screenwriters: Chad St. John, Christian Gudegast, Katrin Benedikt, Creighton Rothenberger SSN Insight: FilmDistrict, distributor of the original film, has an option on the sequel, but with CEO Peter Schlessel moving to Focus Features, the latter company is likely to distribute in the U.S. Sequel to Olympus Has Fallen directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Gerard Butler. Fredrik Bond was previously attached to direct.
Look Who's Back 11/8/2014 Logline: Adolph Hitler returns to modern-day Germany hoping to revive his political career, and is mistaken for a satirist and given a TV show. Production Companies: Constantin Film Verleih GmbH, Mythos Film Director: David Wnendt Executive Producers: Martin Moszkowicz, Oliver Berben Producers: Christoph Mueller, Lars Dittrich Cast: Oliver Masucci, Christoph Maria Herbst, Fabian Sawatzki, Katja Riemann Screenwriter: Timur Vermes Details: Based on the novel "Look Who’s Back" written by Timur Vermes and to be published by MacLehose Press in April 2014.
Mechanic: Resurrection 11/4/2014 Logline: This sequel continues to follow the adventures of the elite assassin Arthur Bishop, who is known for his skill in cleanly eliminating targets. Studio: Nu Image/Millennium Films Production Companies: Winkler Films, Off The Chart Entertainment Director: Dennis Gansel Executive Producers: No Executive Producer Available. Producers: David Winkler, Billy Chartoff, Avi Lerner, Frank DeMartini Cast: Jason Statham, Tommy Lee Jones, Jessica Alba, Michelle Yeoh Screenwriters: Philip Shelby, Richard Wenk Details: Sequel to the film "The Mechanic," (2011/Nu Image/Chartoff-Winkler) directed by Simon West, which was a remake of "The Mechanic" (1972/UA) directed by Michael Winner and starring Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent. SSN Insight: Simon West was previously attached to direct.
The Martian 11/10/2014 Logline: When an astronaut is stranded on Mars, he struggles to survive and get back to Earth. Studio: 20th Century Fox Production Companies: Scott Free Productions, Genre Films Director: Ridley Scott Executive Producers: No Executive Producer Available. Producers: Simon Kinberg, Aditya Sood, Ridley Scott Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Michael PeÃ±a Screenwriter: Drew Goddard Details: Based on the novel "The Martian," written by Andy Weir and self-published by Amazon on September 27, 2012. SSN Insight: Drew Goddard was previously in negotiations to direct. Wadi Rum, a protected desert area in southern Jordan, was scheduled to stand in for Mars during filming. Director Ridley Scott previously shot scenes from "Exodus: Gods And Kings" in Wadi Rum, and the region also provided the setting for many scenes in "Lawrence of Arabia".
Three Generations 11/10/2014 Logline: A teen transitioning from male to female, her single mother and her lesbian grandmother live under one roof in New York City. Production Companies: InFilm Productions, Big Beach Director: Gaby Dellal Executive Producers: Naomi Watts, Leah Holzer, Daniele Melia, Peter Pastorelli Producers: Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Dorothy Berwin Cast: Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon Screenwriter: Nikole Beckwith SSN Insight: Stuart Ford’s IM Global will sell the film internationally. Sales launched this year at AFM. ICM will handle North American sales.
By the Sea 11/10/2014 Logline: Storyline is under wraps for this relationship drama. Studio: Universal Pictures Production Companies: Plan B Entertainment, Jolie Pas Director: Angelina Jolie Executive Producers: No Executive Producer Available. Producers: Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt Cast: Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt Screenwriter: Angelina Jolie SSN Insight: This film marks the first time that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have appeared onscreen together since "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" in 2005.
Freeheld 11/07/2014 Logline: No Logline Available. Production Companies: Endgame Entertainment, Double Feature Films, Vie Entertainment, Incognito Pictures Director: Peter Sollett Executive Producers: Douglas E. Hansen, Ameet Shukla Producers: Ellen Page, James D. Stern, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher, Kelly Bush Novak Cast: Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon, Steve Carell, Luke Grimes Screenwriter: Ron Nyswaner Details: Based on the short film "Freeheld" (USA/2007) directed by Cynthia Wade, which won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject. SSN Insight: Catherine Hardwicke was previously in discussions to direct. Zach Galifianakis was previously attached to the role played by Steve Carell.
Spectral 11/7/2014 Logline: A special ops team must fight a new kind of terrorist threat that involves the supernatural. Production Company: Legendary Entertainment Director: Nic Mathieu Executive Producers: Jillian Share, Guy Riedel Producers: Jon Jashni, Thomas Tull Cast: James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, Bruce Greenwood, Max Martini, Cory C. Hardrict Screenwriters: John Gatins, Jamie Moss, Jayson Rothwell, George J. Nolfi, Ian Fried SSN Insight: Legendary acquired Ian Fried's pitch for a reported six-figures. Legendary negotiated a reported seven-figure deal for directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, but they left the project in May 2013. Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg were previously attached to direct.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens 11/3/2014 Logline: Storyline is under wraps. The story takes place 30 years after the events in Return of the Jedi. Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Production Companies: Bad Robot, Kasdan Pictures, Lucasfilm, Ltd., Genre Films Director: J.J. Abrams Executive Producers: Tommy Harper, Jason McGatlin, George Lucas Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Simon Kinberg, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk Cast: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels Screenwriters: J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Arndt Details: Sequel to "Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope" (USA/1977) directed by George Lucas and starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. SSN Insight: Matthew Vaughn was once rumored to direct.
Trumbo 11/6/2014 Logline: The story of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was sent to prison during the 1950s HUAC trials and wrote two Oscar-winning classics while blacklisted. Production Company: Groundswell Productions Director: Jay Roach Producers: Michael London, Janice Williams, John McNamara, Jay Roach Cast: Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, John Goodman, Elle Fanning Screenwriter: John McNamara Details: Based on the book "Dalton Trumbo" by Bruce Cook; published by Scribner Book Company January 1, 1977. SSN Insight: Shot in New Orleans, Michael London’s Groundswell Productions is producing and it marks Cranston’s second big job after the AMC series that has brought him four Emmys and monster hit Godzilla.
On the Set For 11/10/14: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt’s ‘By The Sea’ Wrap, and MoreThe new Coen Brothers movie begins production, as do Bleed For This and Hunter’s Prayer, while Freeheld, Spectral and Trumbo are among others to wrap. (SSN)
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It’s Official: After Months of Talk and Rumors, Oliver Stone and Joseph Gordon-Levitt Are Making an Edward Snowden Film TogetherThe film will start shooting in Munich in January, and will be produced by Open Road and Endgame Entertainment and regular Stone collaborators Eric Kopeloff and Moritz Boreman. (TOH) (THR) (IW) (EMP)
If You Ever Found Yourself Wondering What Darth Vader Sounded Like Before James Earl Jones Took Over, Today’s Your Lucky DayA recently unearthed documentary has some behind the scenes footage with David Prowse, the actor in the Vader costume, speaking the lines while shooting the original film. It cannot be missed. (MF) (GL)
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Sundance TV Continues Its Diversity, Green Lights New Series With a Gay, African-American Veteran HeroCable network has set Jim Mickle and Nick Damici to write and direct the series, based on the Hap and Leonard series by writer Joe R. Lansdale. (SAA) (VUL) (SM)
A Few Good Men Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Sony Pictures Television Executive Producers: Craig Zadan, Neil Meron Writer: Aaron Sorkin Logline: The story revolves around the court-martial case against two Marines accused of killing another serviceman. Details: Based on the the play "A Few Good Men," written by Aaron Sorkin and premiering on Broadway in 1989. SSN Insight: Zadan and Meron are behind NBC's live stagings of both The Sound of Music and the upcoming Peter Pan. The Sound of Music’s ratings soared with over 20 million tuning in or watching via DVR. Peter Pan is set to air on NBC on December 4th.
ABC/ Untitled Ali Wentworth Comedy Project Network: ABC Entertainment Group Studio: Warner Bros. Television Production Company: Doozer Productions Executive Producers: Alexandra Wentworth, Bill Lawrence, Jeff Ingold Writers: Alexandra Wentworth, Jackie Clarke Logline: The story centers on Ali, her husband and their two kids and examines how their home life descends into chaos. She shoots a video blog out of their apartment, and his crazy hours as a morning newsman make it so their lives never sync up. Details: Loosely inspired by Ali Wentworth's life with an initial script commitment.
ABC/ Untitled Gregg Mettler Aaron Kaplan Comedy Project Network: ABC Entertainment Group Studio: Warner Bros. Television Production Company: Kapital Entertainment Executive Producers: Gregg Mettler, Aaron Kaplan Writer: Gregg Mettler Logline: Based on Gregg Mettler’s childhood and how he survived life with his unconventional parents and a locally famous puppeteer and an aspiring blues musician. SSN Insight: Labeled as “Malcolm In the Middle meets The Middle,” the project is an autobiographical family comedy centered on Mettler’s unconventional childhood.
ABC/ Untitled Mark Gordon Clifton Campbell Drama Series Network: ABC Entertainment Group Studio: ABC Studios Production Company: Mark Gordon Company Executive Producers: Clifton Campbell, Mark R. Gordon, Nicholas Pepper, Ilene Staple Writer: Clifton Campbell Logline: The series is set at the Ludlow family business: a high-powered law firm in Chicago. The story is told through the black sheep of the family, 31-year-old Fina Ludlow, the brash, intelligent, hot-mess daughter of Carl and Elaine Ludlow, who left Harvard Law School and found her "voice" as the firm's brash and controversial legal investigator. Details: Based on the "Fina Ludlow" novel series, written by Ingrid Thoft and first published by Putnam Adult on June 18, 2013. SSN Insight: This drama is the seventh sale of the season for Gordon. The company also has comedies Unfunctional and Plus One at ABC along with the legal drama Pariahs, detective drama Las Reinas and an untitled Quantico project.
American Gothic Network: CBS Entertainment Studio: CBS Television Studios Production Company: Amblin Television Executive Producer: Corinne Brinkerhoff Writer: Corinne Brinkerhoff Logline: Set among the world of the Boston elites, the show follows a prominent family grappling with the revelation that their recently deceased patriarch might have been a serial killer. The discovery sets off struggles within the clan, including the fear that one of their own might have been his accomplice. Details: The drama is not related to the 1995 CBS series or the Grant Wood painting. SSN Insight: Brinkerhoff landed an overall deal with CBS Studios after her three-year stint as a staff writer on The Good Wife. As part of the deal, she became the co-executive producer on Elementary. Currently she’s the co-executive on CBS Studio’s new hit, Jane The Virgin.
Ash Vs. Evil Dead Network: Starz Production Company: Ghost House Television Executive Producers: Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert, Bruce Campbell Writers: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Tom Spezialy Logline: A follow-up to the 1983 film in which five friends are holed up in a remote cabin where they discover a Book Of The Dead. The friends unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess them in succession until only one, Ash, is left intact to fight for survival. SSN Insight: Ash Vs. Evil Dead marks a return to Starz for Raimi and Tapert as they executive produced the network’s first scripted hit action series Spartacus. The 2013 Evil Dead film, a reboot, grossed $97 million.
Damn! Network: Fox Broadcasting Company Studio: 20th Century Fox Television Production Company: No Production Company Available. Executive Producer: Glenn Gordon Caron Writer: Glenn Gordon Caron Logline: A reprobate con man meets his untimely death but gets another chance at life as an an angel. Together with a beautiful but straight laced angel, who is determined to "rehabilitate" him, they go back down to Earth and help ordinary people solve their problems. SSN Insight: Fox has given an initial commitment of a script plus a penalty.
Faust Network: NBC Entertainment Production Company: LightWorkers Media Executive Producers: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Roma Downey, Mark Burnett Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Logline: Set in Washington, DC, an ambitious surgeon is forced to confront a terrible truth: That he may lose everything good in his life: his job, his family, his very soul and when a diabolical stranger from his past arrives, to collect on a bargain they made thirteen years earlier. Details: Based on the German legend. SSN Insight: Beside writing the project, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is also the Chief Creative Officer of Archie Comics. The project is described as a faith-based medical procedural with a modern take on the legendary tale.
Justin and Abby and Oh Yea Zack Too Network: CBS Entertainment Studio: CBS Television Studios Production Company: Tannenbaum Company Executive Producers: Tad Quill, Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Haswell-Tannenbaum Writer: Justin Noble Logline: Justin and Abby dated for about five minutes, but decided they were more like siblings and became codependent best friends, partners in crime and partners in karaoke. But soon they had to deal with Abby having a serious boyfriend who is less than wild about straight and single Justin being around them at all times. SSN Insight: Noble is an up and comer with staff writing credits on Idiotsitter and Dads. He wrote this single-camera comedy on spec.
Like Father, Like Son Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Universal Television Production Company: Will Packer Productions Executive Producers: William Packer, Michael Pennie Writer: Michael Pennie Logline: A recently divorced man in his early thirties is just starting to enjoy the benefits of being young, successful and single when he learns he has a fifteen-year-old son from a one-night-stand he had in college. Details: Inspired by actual events from Will Packer’s life.
Little Women Network: ABC Entertainment Group Studio: ABC Studios Production Companies: Monumental Pictures, Essential Media and Entertainment, Canny Lad Productions Executive Producers: Natascha McElhone, Julie Anne Robinson, Simonne Overend, Alison Owen Writer: Jordan Roberts Logline: This new take on the classic tale follows the lives of four sisters coming of age against the backdrop of a military scandal as their family loses their fortune and position finding themselves at odds with the conservative and traditional society in which they live. Based on the novel. Details: Based on the novel, "Little Women," written by Louisa May Alcott and published in 1868-1869. SSN Insight: Planned as an event/limited series with an initial script commitment. The 1994 film grossed $50 million domestically for Sony.
Sneaky Pete Network: CBS Entertainment Studio: Sony Pictures Television Production Companies: Shore Z Productions, Moonshot Entertainment Executive Producers: Bryan Cranston, David Shore, James Degus Writer: Bryan Cranston, David Shore Logline: Centers on a thirty-something con man who, upon leaving prison, takes cover from his darker past by assuming the identity of a cellmate. "Sneaky Pete" hides out from the mob while working for the cellmate family’s bail bond business, taking down criminals worse than himself. Over time, he discovers a family life he’s never had, and possibly true love with a woman who sees through his BS. SSN Insight: CBS has made an initial pilot production commitment. Cranston has a first-look deal and Shore is under an overall pact at Sony Pictures TV.
The System Network: Fox Broadcasting Company Studio: 20th Century Fox Television Production Company: Small Dog Picture Company Executive Producers: Renate Radford, Jason Winer Writer: Jonathan Caren Logline: Centers on six 20-somethings with very different points of view on the criminal justice system. While they struggle to figure out their own messy lives, their high stakes jobs force them to make decisions with life or death consequences. SSN Insight: Winer contacted Caren about teaming up after seeing his play The Recommendation, based on Caren’s experience interviewing people who work within the L.A prison system. The play won two LA Ovation Awards, which honor excellence in Los Angeles Theater this year.
Tonight’s PEN Literary Awards Continue Mission to Allow Uninhibited Storytelling and Protect Writers’ FreedomNever has it been more important to protect the written word and creative expression than in this day and age of digital media and social exposure, recognized at the 24th Annual Literary Awards at the Beverly Wilshire tonight. (SSN)
Spotlight: Tommy Lee Jones Talks Producing/Writing/Directing ‘The Homesman’ and Casting Meryl StreepThe Oscar winner is a triple threat on the western drama, about an independent-minded woman who volunteers to drive three mentally ill women in a wagon from Nebraska to Iowa, which has a gala premiere at the AFI Film Festival tonight. (SSN)
TV Development For 11/11/14: NBC Drafting ‘A Few Good Men’ For Live Special and New Projects For Bryan Cranston and Mark BurnettOther announced projects include an untitled Ali Wentworth comedy, a new American Gothic, an updated Little Women and plenty of brand new comedies. (SSN)
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It’s Still Three Years Away, But Get Ready: ’Thor: Ragnarok’ Is Going To Kill Off Some Major CharactersScreenwriter Christopher Yost, who also wrote Thor: The Dark World, tweets, “Ragnarok is the end of all things. What are we supposed to do, let people live?!” which implies plenty of carnage. (CB) (TP) (DS)
Equitable Stewardship for Artists: Talent agent Rachel Sheedy has joined Equitable Stewardship for Artists. She was previously at Jeff Berg’s recently folded Resolution. Equitable Stewarsdhip started more than two years ago by Paul Alan Smith, and the company also has hired Varun Monga and Antoni Kaczmarek as agents.
ICM Partners: Agency has signed Lauren Iungerich, who created MTV’s comedy series Awkward. She was previously at WME. Iungerich served as executive producer/showrunner for the series’ first three seasons. She saw three other comedy projects go to pilot: Dumb Girls and Hot Mess at MTV and Damaged Goods at ABC.
WME: Nick Cassavetes has signed with WME. He was previously repped by Jeff Bergat Resolution. Cassavetes most recently directed the Cameron Diaz comedy The Other Woman. He also helmed The Notebook, the Emile Hirsch-Justin Timberlake crime pic Alpha Dog and the family drama My Sister’s Keeper.
ICM Partners: The Walking Dead’s Sarah Wayne Callies signed with ICM. She was previously at Resolution, where she was repped by Joey Stanton, who recently moved to CAA. Callies starred in Warner Bros.’ Into the Storm and is shooting the Voltage thriller Pay the Ghost with Nicholas Cage. She also is repped by Brian Medavoy at More/Medavoy Management.
UTA: Hungry Hearts director Saverio Costanzo has signed with his first-ever agency, UTA. The Italian filmmaker wrote and directed the film, which earned acting awards for stars Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher, at Venice this fall.
WME: Stand-up comedy star and actor Russell Peters has signed with WME. Peters has done several comedy specials for Netflix, including Notorious and Russell Peters Vs. The World. He was a judge on NBC’s reality series Last Comic Standing as well.
Abrams Artists Agency: Abrams Artists’ Alternative Programming and Digital Media Division, which is run by veteran agent Alec Shankman, promoted Amanda Marzolf in the digital/influencer arena. They also hired licensing executive Lynda Cevallos. The department represents producers, production companies, digital content creators, brands, and talent.
Evolution Management: The company is merging into music specialist Primary Wave. Evolution financed David Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and will become part of Primary Wave’s Talent Management division, operating under the Primary Wave name.
Breaking Down the Trends at AFM 2014: The VOD Disruption, Hot Genres and the Territories On the RiseOver 8,000 industry leaders from over 80 countries converged in Santa Monica last week for eight days of deal‐making, screenings, seminars, and events at the American Film Market (AFM), produced by the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA). (SSN) (SSN)
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Joy Logline: A housewife, struggling to make ends meet, invents a mop that changes her life and makes her a millionaire. Based on a true story. Studio/Distributor: Fox 2000, 20th Century Fox Production Company: Davis Entertainment Producers: John Davis, John Fox, Ken Mok Cast: Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence Writer: Annie Mumolo Director: David O’Russell SSN Insight: David O’Russell looks to pairing up his dream team again with Lawrence and De Niro both of whom appeared in his Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. O’Russell is said to be writing a role for Bradley Cooper in Joy too.
Central Intelligence Logline: After reconnecting with an old friend via Facebook, an accountant is thrown into the world of international espionage. Studio/Distributor: New Line Production Company: Principato-Young Entertainment, Bluegrass Films Producers: Peter Principato, Paul Young, Scott Stuber Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber SSN Insight: New Line looks to create a new comic pairing in Johnson and Hart and turns to its trusted We’re the Millers director in Thurber to get the job done. The movie is set to start shooting in the spring.
Demon House Logline: The film is based on the story of the Ammons family, who claim to have been victims of demonic possession in their home. Studio/Distributor: Relativity Production Company: Turn Left Productions Producers: Jackson Nguyen, Todd Crites, Bruce Cohen Director: Lee Daniels SSN Insight: The drama director, Daniels, known for his character driven films such as Precious, The Butler and The Paperboy, will try his hand for the first time on a horror/ thriller.
The Wolfman Logline: A re-invention of the classic tale. Studio/Distributor: Universal Pictures Production Company: Producers: Chris Morgan, Alex Kurtzman Writer: Aaron Guzikowski SSN Insight: Guzikowski is one of the more recent writers to join the “braintrust” of writers hired to help re-invent Universal’s classic monster universe. Other writers include Noah Hawley, Ed Soloman, Chris Morgan and Alex Kurtzman.
Pentacle Logline: This dark thriller takes place in the world of magic. Studio/Distributor: Lionsgate Production Company: Vertigo Entertainment Producers: Roy Lee, Adam Stone Writer: Ian Fried SSN Insight: Fried is a hot writer off the Black List who sold a sci-fi pitch Prism to Paramount, and a supernatural action pitch Spectral to Legendary, which is slated for an August 2016 release.
Miracles From Heaven Logline: A young girl suffering from a rare digestive disorder has a near-death experience, visits heaven and returns to life, healed of her crippling condition. Studio/Distributor: Columbia Producers: T.D. Jakes, Joe Roth, DeVon Franklin Details: Based on the memoir "Three Miracles From Heaven: A Sick Little Girl, Her Journey to Heaven, and the Lives Forever Changed," written by Christy Beam and to be published by Hachette in spring 2015. SSN Insight: Sony invests again in its faith-based producing team responsible for their hit film Heaven is for Real and firmly establishes their belief in former exec turned producer, DeVon Franklin, as well who set up the project based on a book proposal.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Logline: The sequel to the 2002 romantic comedy where a family secret and another wedding bring the Portokalos family back together. Studio/ Distributor: Universal Production Company: Gold Circle, HBO, Playtone Producers: Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman Writer: Nia Vardalos Director: Kirk Jones Cast: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett SSN Insight: Universal has signed on to distribute the film in the U.S., as well as Australia/New Zealand, Germany/Austria/Switzerland, Greece, Italy, Latin America, Scandinavia, South Africa and Spain.
Matriarch Logline: A prison psychologist has 48 hours to convince a serial killer to tell her the location of her final victim before she is executed. Studio/ Distributor: Paramount Production Company: Red Wagon Producers: Douglas Wick, Rock Shaink Jr. Writer: Eric Koenig SSN Insight: Writer Koenig is a member of the Air Force and this is his first script sale, seling for mid six-figures.
Toy Story 4 Logline: The sequel to the 2010 release of Toy Story 3. Studio/ Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Production Company: Pixar Animation Director: John Lasseter SSN Insight: Many believed Toy Story 3 to be the final in the franchise, but Lasseter this week announced a Toy Story 4, which is to be released in June of 2017. Lasseter himself will take the directors chair and return to the franchise after directing the first one in 1995 and the second in 1999.
Dark Matter Logline: Storyline is under Wraps Studio/ Distributor: Columbia Pictures Production Company: Matt Tolmach Productions Producer: Matt Tolmach Writer: Blake Crouch Details: Based on the novel "Dark Matter" written by Blake Crouch which will be published by Crown. SSN Insight: Columbia is in negotiations to make a pre-emptive $1.25 million deal for the novel that is based on a 150-page partial manuscript.
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Film Development For 11/13/14: DeNiro Re-Teams With Russell and Lawrence For ‘Joy,’ Pixar Plays With ‘Toy Story 4’In other news, Rawson Marshall Thurber gets a pair of heavy hitters for his next comedy, Wolfman gets a writer, and a My Big Fat Greek Wedding gets a green light. (SSN)
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While Showtime Has Had To Recast Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Role in ‘Happyish,’ Kathryn Hahn Will Be Sticking AroundThe Bad Words actress will reprise her role as the wife of lead character Thom Payne, who will now be played by Steve Coogan. Pilot will be re-shot soon. (EW) (FSR)
Were You At All Curious About How Rupert Wyatt Would Have Done ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’? Here’s Your Chance To Find OutThe director was poised to do the sequel to his Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but felt the 2014 release date didn’t give him enough time, so he stepped down from the film and made The Gambler, instead. (COL) (TOH)
NYC-based The Door Marketing Group recently opened a Los Angeles office, bringing on Food & Wine publicist Erika Gable as senior vice president. The new branch’s clients include James Beard Award-winning chef Charles Phan and Food Network chef Marcela Valladolid.
Canada’s DHX Media and China National Television are launching a new Internet platform company in China focused on children’s entertainment. Under a revenue sharing program, DHX will provide more than 700 half-hours of children’s content.
Entertainment One is expanding its Australian operations, launching a TV production and development unit run by Jude Troy.
Studios, Networks, and Media Conglomerates
Warner Bros has hired former Universal exec Jessica Schell as EVP and General Manager of the studio’s home entertainment division.
Sony Pictures Entertainment has named Nicholas Weiss SVP Creative Advertising - the latest exec hire in the studio's marketing division. Weiss will report to Michael Pavlic, who was promoted to replace the departing President of Worldwide Advertising Tommy Gargotta this summer.
The Museum of the Moving Image has named Sony Pictures Classics co-chairman Michael Barker as co-chairman of its board of trustees. He is replacing current co-chairman Herbert Schlosser, who will become chairman emeritus of the New York museum. Barker joins remaining co-chairman Ivan L. Lustig.
Hasbro has promoted veteran exec Stephen Davis to the newly created role of EVP-Chief Content Officer. He will be responsible for developing content for Hasbro’s brands across multiple platforms.
Jae-woo Kim has joined the Los Angeles-based 13 Films as director of international sales. Kim will report directly to company founder Tannaz Anisi, and she most recently served as international business manager at South Korean sales company 9ers Entertainment, where she acquired the Point Break remake and Johnny Depp film Mortdecai. Television
Colin Callender's Playground Entertainment has hired Sophie Gardiner as Creative Director of Playground Television in the United Kingdom. Gardiner will develop and produce original British dramas and assume an active role in the company's existing and future co-productions.
Veteran network exec and producer Teri Flynn has joined Mark Ciardi’s Aspire Entertainment as Chief Content Officer and EVP. Flynn will develop content for the new multiplatform production company alongside founder and CEO Ciardi.
WE tv promoted Lauren Gellert to the newly created position of executive vice president of development and original programming. She will be moving into the new position from her post as SVP of original production and development.
OutEast Entertainment has hired NBC News vet Courtney Hazlett to head up its development efforts as it expands its push into primetime. As SVP Development, Hazlett will be working out of the company’s Los Angeles and New York offices.
George Cheeks has been named head of late-night television at NBC. Cheeks will work with Alternative and Late Night Programming President Paul Telegdy to overseeing late-night. His new title will be EVP Business Operations and Late Night, NBC Entertainment.
Dee Forbes has been named President and Managing Director of Discovery Networks Northern Europe. The division will encompass the UK, Ireland, the Nordics and Benelux.
Marinella Soldi has been named President and Managing Director of Discovery Networks Southern Europe and will add France to her current oversight of Italy, Spain and Portugal.
Kasia Kieli will add Germany, Austria and Switzerland to her portfolio as President and Managing Director of Discovery Networks Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Amazon Studios comedy executive Sarah Babineau has joined Comedy Central as VP Original Programming and Development, East Coast. She is replacing SVP Brooke Posch, who is leaving the network at the end of her contract to run Amy Poehler’s production company Paper Kite, based at Universal TV.
Chris Levinson has closed a joint two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV and its cable division Fox 21. Under the pact, Levinson will develop cable series through Fox 21 and broadcast projects through 20th TV.
Agencies, Management Companies, Public Relations, and Law Firms
The Gersh Agency has hired four new agents as it grows its bi-coastal comedy department in New York and Los Angeles. Moving over to Gersh after eight years at ICM Partners is William Rodriguez, who reps comedians like DL Hughley, Charlie Murphy, Earthquake, Aries Spears, and Gary Owen and Sinbad. He’ll focus on booking concerts with promoters, performing arts centers, and casinos. Matt Charkow comes to Gersh after overseeing touring for start-up Parallel 49. Prior to that he worked in WME’s Personal Appearance department for a decade.
Evolution partners Amy Slomovits and Brady McKay are leaving the management/production company to join fellow Haven Entertainment as partners. At Haven, they will launch a talent department. Slomovits and McKay join Haven founding partners Mauricio Betancur, Jesse Hara, Kevin Mann and Rachel Miller.
Talent agent Rachel Sheedy has joined Equitable Stewardship for Artists.
Lynda Cevallos is now a licensing agent at Abrams Artists. Previosly she was Vice President, Licensing, at Paramount Pictures.
Bunim/Murray Productions has hired John P. Roberts, former SVP Digital Media at Endemol. He will head up its digital division. The company also promoted former Director of Digital Media Kesila Childers to VP of the division, reporting to Roberts. Bryan Thoensen, who ran Hulu’s integrated marketing division for the past four years, has left the Internet TV company. In a statement, the company said that it would combine the branded-content efforts with its advertising sales group.
The veteran broadcast journalist and producer Laura Ling is joining Discovery’s digital side to create more online-native content for the company’s web presence. Ling will be Director of Development for the digital networks, which currently generate 150 million streams a month to online viewers.
Universal Music Group Nashville has upped its vice president of promotion, Shane Allen, to head of promotion at Capitol Records Nashville starting in the new year. Allen will succeed Steve Hodges, who is leaving Capitol, the label group announced on Thursday.
Richard Conlon is now Universal Music Publishing Group‘s Special Advisor on Performing Rights. Conlon was previously SVP of Corporate Strategy, Communications, and New Media at BMI. He left his position earlier this year to pursue other opportunities.
Sonic branding company Man Made Music has hired Kevin Perlmutter as SVP and Chief Strategist. Perlmutter was previously Senior Director of Brand Strategy at Interbrand.
Exec Shuffle For 11/14/14: Hasbro Creates Chief Content Officer Position, DHX Media Launches Content Platform in China, Ent. One Expanding in AussieWarner and Sony make some moves, as does the Museum of the Moving Image, Amazon Studios, WE TV and a whole passel of production shingles. (SSN) (EMP) (UR) (VAR) (COL) (DH) (CB) (THR) (MF) (DS)
All around Hollywood, execs are sitting around conference rooms today deciding what will be on their weekend read. All studios do their weekend reads differently and the projects range from books to scripts to articles, but all reading must be done by Monday when the execs gather around the same conference room table to discuss their opinions on the varying projects.
Some studios put available material on their weekend read to discuss whether or not to buy them. Others put new drafts of their own projects so that their co-workers may weigh in on next steps. Some studios even put projects from other studios on their lists so that they are up to speed on their competition. Projects live or die in these meetings and important decisions are often made about how to proceed (or not) on a range of movies.
SSN has gathered an unofficial list of what may be appearing on weekend read lists around town and offers up our unsolicited advice on what next steps should be.
Projects in Development
Studio/ Distributor: Focus Features Logline: Passengers on an overloaded lifeboat realize that in order for any to survive, some must die. Talent: Anne Hathaway Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Liza Chasin, Ben Forkner, Suzan Bymel, Anne Hathaway Writer: William Broyles Jr. Notes: Based on the novel "The Lifeboat" written by Charlotte Rogan and published by Reagan Arthur Books on April 3, 2012. SSN Insight: Because of Anne Hathaway’s attachment the studio wants to get a high profile director and are most likely assessing the script and discussing appropriate director names such as Bill Condon or Kenneth Branagh.
Studio/ Distributor: Legendary Pictures Logline: The real-life account of a tightly knit forest service engine crew that perished battling "the perfect storm" of wildland fires near Idyllwild, CA in 2006. Producers: Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni Writer: Sean O’Keefe Notes: Based on the non-fiction book "The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder, and the Agony of Engine 57," written by John Maclean and published by Counterpoint on February 12, 2013. SSN Insight: Legendary is quite excited about this project and is looking to attach an A-List director, even discussing Chris Nolan.
Studio/ Distributor: Universal Pictures Logline: The true story of pilot Barry Seal, who transported contraband for the CIA and the Medellin cartel in the 1980s. Producers: Brian Grazer, Doug Davison Writer: Gary Spinelli Notes: Universal acquired the spec from Gary Spinelli for a reported $1 million. SSN Insight: This was a big spec sale that was originally announced with Ron Howard to direct. The studio has since been rumored to have met with Michael Bay and exploring other options such as Cary Fukunaga.
TELL NO ONE
Studio/ Distributor: Universal Pictures Logline: A doctor grieving for his dead wife discovers she may still be alive. Producer: Frank Marshall Talent: Liam Nesson Writer: Chris Terrio Notes: English-language remake of "Ne Le Dis A Personne" (France/2006) written and directed by Guillaume Canet, based on the novel "Tell No One" written by Harlan Coben and published by Delacorte Press June 19, 2001. SSN Insight: Liam Nesson only recently attached to this project so no doubt the studio is trying to package it with a director as soon as possible.
Studio/ Distributor: Weinstein Company Logline: An unlikely friendship develops between a quadriplegic aristocrat and an ex-con who becomes his caregiver. Producer: Alison Owen, Nicholas Duval Writer: John Hartmere Notes: Remake of "Untouchable" (France/2011) directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano. SSN Insight: Harvey has high hopes for this project and is talking to his Imitation Game director, Morten Tyldum, to direct.
Logline: Kept under wraps but pitched as Snatch with X-Men elements. Writer: Scott Wascha Genre: Action Rep Info: Charlie Ferraro, Peter Dodd/ UTA Brooklyn Weaver/ Energy Entertainment SSN Insight: The hot spec script has been going into all the major studios all week long. It’s bound to show up on a few weekend reads this weekend as execs decide what to do come Monday morning.
SOCK MONKEY: INTO THE DEEP WOODS
Logline: Pitched as Coraline in tone, story centers on a sock monkey and his doll friends who travel across sea, land and air to save their human, who they worry has been kidnapped by a vicious monster. Writer/ Director: Matt Danner Genre: Animation Rep Info: Judy Coppage/ The Coppage Company SSN Insight: Danner initially wrote a film treatment of the project but then decided to publish it as s comic book with publisher Fantagraphics first. Now that they comic hits shelves November 16, Danner is out to studios and financiers with a full script and a teaser Danner created using hybrid CG/live-action "digi-nette puppetry."
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A Sitdown With the Women of ‘Beyond the Lights’ — Gina Prince-Bythewood, Guygu Mbatha-Raw, and Tami RikerThe new film from the award-winning writer/director of Love & Basketball and The Secret Life of Bees crafted the character of Noni after watching an Alicia Keys concert at the Hollywood Bowl. (SSN)
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